Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pike Peak Marathon 8-17-2014

What a super fun week this was! When I accidentally registered for this event I remember a friend from school Karen Brandenburg who moved to Denver about 8 years ago had done this also many times as well as her friend and my FB friend (also from Portsmouth) Debbie Workman so the first thing I had to do was check with them to see if they were in again this year and they both were signed up! This was gonna be fun!! 3 girls from Portsmouth Ohio taking on Pikes Peak....we were now going to be the Portsmouth Pikes Peakers PPP's. Its the small stuff in life that keeps me smiling! So Karen invited me to stay with her since she had spare bedroom and this was perfect! I also had several other friends in the area- Holly and her husband Bill as well as Wendy who I went to school with and the one that surprised me at Zion in April!!
Before I can start to try to write something about the event and weekend this one needs to begin with the stuff you just can't make up and how the trip began.
I was flying out of Columbus and just wore a sundress. When I went through security and did the picture machine with my arms above my head and stepped out the lady informed me that the machine had a light that lit up on my right breast and they needed to check my breast! Yes....seriously my boob was suspicious of having enough power to take over an airline, I had no bra on mind you either and have never had work done on my breast but as most middle age women I would love to perk these girls up! I already felt violated and as she directed me over to wait on someone to come feel my breast the gal came over and I just whipped the girls out at her and said have at it. She was a little shocked and I was very vocal. As I picked the girls up from my knees and back into my dress she then had to feel under each one and then I was free to go. As I looked for my bags now they are holding them hostage for an inspection. The man says "Is this your bag" yes..." I need to go through it" I said whatever you need honey, I just had my boobs felt up over here and if we need to go to another room and you do a strip search and go through all my bags and stuff lets get going. So he opens that bag and pulls out my Sports Slick cream and asked what is it? I was still so pissed my first response was that is my Pussy Ass cream....he looked at me like what? I said that is my cream that goes on my pussy and my ass so when I run it helps relieve chaffing......so he calls over a supervisor to see if that would be covered under medical. The lady then asked me the same thing, I said Look, I just had my boobs felt up, now Im being questioned on my lubricants - I travel to running events ALL the time and never have had this kind of experience, have you ever caught anyone with harmful stuff at a security check point because what I hear on the news is how the employees at the airports are arrested for stealing our stuff? I made it on through with my PA cream and I went to call my mother and tell her what I had just gone through.....now this is comical - my phone had another call coming through with a Kentucky number so I told my mom I better grab it in case it was work related, well it was Kings Daughter Medical Center calling to schedule me for my mammogram,,,,,see somethings you just cant make up!! I explained I was out of town and pretty much just got one but would call when I returned to reschedule.


 I arrived on Thursday and Karen's work had given her tickets to the REDS verses ROCKIES game  that night but she could not go due to work so she gave them to Debbie and I, Debbie picked me up  at the airport and was outside holding a sign that read PPP BADASS.  We stopped for lunch and stopped and I got to meet her kids. This is the first time I met Debbie in person, even though we went to school kinda together, she was a little bit younger - somehow we never knew each other. After we visited with her kids we decided we had plenty of time before the ballgame to stop and see Holly and Bill who only lived about 15 minutes away. Debbie had never met them and I was so excited for them to meet since Holly and her husband had only lived out there for about a year and she would be a great running pal for both Debbie and Karen!
After the ballgame Debbie brought me to Karens and she had to work part of the day Friday and then we were heading to Breckenridge to stay the night at her Ski Club before driving to Glenwood Springs on Saturday morning where she was going to run a half marathon that day and I volunteered as time keeper! She did a great job at the half, she had signed up for a series with this group so she hated to miss it and her doing Pikes Peak Marathon was an annual event now. I believe this was her 7th year in a row and usually she does the Ascent the day before so this other half marathon is a breeze!! After her half we took the long way to Manitou Springs where we were staying with some friends of hers. The Leadville 100 had started that morning and we were both so excited to be going right by the start and finish line!!! I got out and it was 9 hour and 10 minutes into the race and I came running up the finish shoot acting like I was the course record holder going side to side high fiving imaginary people, (maybe the swedish fish and cinnamon candies I bought the night before in Brek had something to do with that?)
My friend Jorge was also running the marathon and his girlfriend Paula had done the Ascent that day and they also had a couple friends all doing the event.  We had been in contact and they invited us all to their cabin for a spaghetti diner.  Debbie, her son and brother and Karen and I all went and and had a great visti. I got to meet some of their other friends that I hadnt met before and heard some stories from that days Ascent. We hi the bed at a decent time- I dont remember what I dreamed but do remember I had some strange ones.
 When we arrived to the start I ran into my friend Scott Sunday and his wife Emme. Scott is the reason I accidentally signed up for this race! It was one evening that the registration had opened up, around 10:30 EST and I had just gone to bed. I decided being the FB addict that I am to check in one last time before laying down and saw a post from Scott that read - "I can't believe Pikes Peak Marathon is still open" Shit!!! This is one of those events I had always dreamed of doing, even before I was a runner, walker hiker or what ever you wanna call it. There is something about the mountains that get to me! My cousin and her husband lived in Colorado Springs when he was in the Special Services and had a view of Pikes Peak and i would see some photos and just imagine what it would be like to climb it or just go to the top! This was even back when I was smoking 3 packs a day and wearing a size 24! I didnt think think about it it was just something that was a "bucket list" of sorts kinda thing. So down the stairs I go and I pull up the registration and the event is 98% full....It had opened at noon Colorado time so had been open for about 8 hours. I was in! WOW I then saw Shawn and Alex and a couple other marathon maniacs before the start.
Debbie and Karen had said they were going to stick with me for the run but I made sure to tell them do not let me hold you back...if you gotta go ahead please please do. I had made a pace chart to get up the mountain in 5:30 hours, that would give 4:30 to get back down and the cut off was 6:30 - I honestly didnt think it would be possible to do that but I also didnt think it would be impossible so it was a good tool. I had written each of the hard cut off times on the card as well.  I was warned going up is like a congo line and it was. You could see the top of the peak way in the distance thinking I cant believe that still 6 or 7 miles away or what ever it was at that time!
The altitude got to me and got to me good.  It was prolly at around 10,000 feet where I was really getting sick, I was dizzy, had a terrible headache and my stomach hurt so bad! I still have to go another 6 miles to the top! I had a hard time even drinking water, the gels were way to sweet for me and the goldfish too dry. I would try to drink water but found myself just swishing it around in my mouth then spitting it out.  We got to the the first cut off with about 15 minutes to spare- Debbie and Karen shortly went ahead and I kept insisting, I dont wanna hold you back and be responsible for either of you not finishing, I'll be ok!! I tried to turn on the music on my phone, I had it in the top pocket of my vest and had the speaker on, headsets were strictly NOT allowed. After awhile of this and trying to pick up my attitude  - and I wont say it was bad it was just confused. It was so confused that I didnt even wanna hear any music!!! With one mile left to the top I had some phone service, even though I could barely breathe I knew my mom would be worried about me especially since I told her an expected time that I would be at the top and it was an hour different because I told her the wrong time zone. So I call her and have her on speaker and heavily breathing I spit out a word here and there to let her know I was ok and still had a mile to the top. She was awesome, she has never heard me like that before and was super super supportive and encouraging and keeping me relaxed telling me just take it easy, breathe and speak when you can.
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 I really needed that at that time. My mom is supportive but where she can't and doesn't relate to my running goals and desires it is hard for her to communicate with me about things like that.  With one mile to the top and an hour to get there I was doing a death march to the top. It still seemed like a long long way away - people were puking, falling, blood vomit everywhere - I dont recall any other event with so much carnage as this one. Soon I saw Shawn coming towards me and we gave each other some encouragement, then I saw Jorge (unless it was the other order?) I could see a bit of blood on Jorge's eye and I could tell he was having some issues but I could also tell he was just as excited to see me as I was to see him and we embraced with a giant hug, I said I was so sick, he told me he stumbled and off I went as I was fighting the clock. I had all these thoughts that maybe if i just sat down for a few minutes I would miss the cut off on purpose and be done, but then I had to remind myself this was the COLORADO state for my 50 States finish in December and how was I going to afford to come back and also which event could I do still this year? So I had to HTFU and keep trucking. I got a little closer and saw Karen and Debbie, they were both totally thrilled to see me and said "OMG!! You made it!!!" LOL we are going to wait on you right here, I said please dont I need yall to finish!!!  I got to the top and they went to refill my water and I said I just need to sit for a second and down I went, the lady barely had a chance herself to get up! I tried to make it quick as it took 6 hours and 15 minutes to get up which meant I now only had 3 hours and 45 minutes to get back down. I worried about the down with my knees and the technical sections would be slowing me down. As I started down and got to where Karen and Debbie were they did wait, we stayed together for awhile and a couple times went ahead and then would be there again. We had a couple miles till one aid station with a restroom and they went ahead to go and said they would wait there...a couple times I remember Karen talking about how they were playing with cut offs and had to make it in a certain time and I thought yes ME TOO!!! Plus this is my COLORADO STATE and I HAVE to finish. hahaha I think one time I either said or just thought Now you're fucking with my head....please please go on cause I can't start thinking negative and worrying if Im gonna cause either of you a DNF. I was with a couple other ladies for awhile and the one insisted if she kept a 15 min mile walk pace she could finish in the time cut off, I didnt wanna take the chance and I was jogging down that hill in the areas that were runable as fast as I could. I know with 5 miles left to go a storm was coming through and you could see lightening in the distance, it drizzled a tad bit but that also helped get me going. With 5 miles left I also had exactly one hour and 15 minutes left on the clock, this still was a 15min mile pace but I had been jogging a lot when I could leading up to this so I knew I had to get my shit together. I reset my garmin so that I could see exactly what my pace per mile was for the next 5 miles. They had to be under 15 min miles or I was not going to make it. The first mile was nice smooth trail and I average around 11:20 or so, next there was some roots and rocks, still under a 13 min mile.... my quads were working hard and taking a pounding and when i had just about a mile or so left and we got on the road road with a steep downhill I just kept pounding away passing people. I wasnt going to slow down now and I was going to finish strong! I finished with 11 minutes to spare!!! My name and city and town was announced before I came around the corner to the finish so Karen and Debbie knew I was coming....they were both sooooo excited yet I remember Karen being in disbelief for quite awhile. She said I can't believe you finished!! OMG if I knew you were so close to me I woulda waited,,,how in the world did you pull that off? I know how bad my legs and knees felt and you with your bad knees...omg omg. It was really funny and I loved it!! I dont quit unless I get pulled from a course and made to quit or something so physical would cause me to.  This was so fun and so hard! It was hard in a way that I have not seen hard, not like the Umstead 100 hard - it is difficult to explain and i've thought for a long time how to explain it and cant. I am soooo glad to have been able to do this with my friend Karen and Debbie!!!

The next morning my friend Wendy came and picked me up at Karens. We stopped for lunch and she took me around the Boulder area. We stopped at one area that had a lot of rock climbers and it had been damaged by the flooding last year but was a gorgeous area.  Later we met Holly for a nice hike with Wendys dog Scout. I dont remember the name of it but it was another amazing view at the summit.  I stayed that night with Wendy and her husband Jorge. This was one GREAT weekend! I really have some amazing friends!!! Thank you Karen, Debbie, Wendy and Holly for making this one to remember!!

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